“Minor-attracted people” refers to adults who are attracted to children or adolescents and also refers to adolescents who are attracted to children. The concept overlaps with others, such as pedophilia and hebephilia. However, this category is fairly new and most people don’t see the difference between attraction to minors and pedophilia, which is, itself, charged with great amounts of stigma. Because of that, the self-esteem of minor-attracted people is severely damaged, they hide and develop self-hatred. But it’s important for the minor-attracted person to understand that they are not a threat to minors, that their attraction is fine in other cultures and that, putting things that way, attraction to minors isn’t a disease per itself, but is made such by society. That should help minor-attracted people to accept themselves wholeheartedly, to see cultural phenomena as passive of changing, improve understanding of themselves and point to help, if such is needed.
Try looking up the word “pedophilia” online right now. What you will likely see is a number of news articles about cases of child rape, molestation or worse. However, for a group of people, it is a very narrow picture. I am talking about minor-attracted people. Those people acknowledge that they have feelings for minors, so they are in position to judge what people say about them. And for many minor-attracted people, the news do not reflect who they truly are.
The phenomenon of attraction to minors is too diverse to be adequately described by media outlets. There are minor-attracted people who are pedophiles, but there’s also nepiophiles (attracted to babies) and hebephiles (attracted to pubescents). There are minor-attracted people who feel that their attraction, despite being illegal, does not need to be illegal, but others prefer things to stay the way they are. And most interestingly, there are minors who are attracted to much younger minors, not to mention minors who are attracted to same-age peers.
The problem is that media outlets, by spreading misinformation, makes many minor-attracted people feel isolated or despaired. They do not see themselves in the monsters portrayed in the news. So, if you are law-abiding and attracted to minors, you might think that you are one of a few or that you would soon end up breaking the law. That causes feelings of despair. Yet, that despair is grounded on a false assumption: that all minor-attracted people are active or potential criminals.
That being said, looking up information about attraction to minors in general and pedophilia in particular can be a very painful and fruitless activity. The goal of this text is to provide accurate information about attraction to minors to minor-attracted people themselves, in order to make them feel more at an ease, while stressing the need to stay law-abiding. The first section tries to define attraction to minors, the second tries to explain the difference between thoughts and actions. Hopefully, after reading this, you will be able to sleep well. Because the text has minor-attracted people are audience, I will write in second person.
Before going any further, I need to state that this guide will not teach you to break the law: there is no information on grooming, sharing of child pornography, nothing like that. If you came to this page expecting any of that, I fear you will be disappointed. The text is introductory and, despite it’s academic form, should not be seen as a scientific report. Please, check the references for further information.
Attraction to minors.
Being attracted to minors is having an erotic attachment to people who are not yet adults. Because “minor” is a cultural term, not a biological one, such as “child”, there’s no universal age for one to be called a “minor”, even though, in most Western societies, you are only an adult at age 18. Attraction to babies is called nepiophilia, attraction to prepubescent children is called pedophilia, attraction to pubescent children and adolescents is called hebephilia, attraction to postpubescent adolescents is called ephebophilia. It is important to stress that those terms imply a preferential attraction: if you felt sexually attracted to a child once, but it was an one-time occurence or if your desire for adults is higher, you are not a pedophile. Out of those, only pedophilia (and, by extension, nepiophilia) is considered a mental disorder, according to the International Classification of Diseases and the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders, but only as long as the pedophile is markedly distressed by the feelings or if he has acted according to the impulse. That being said, a pedophile is not necessarily mentally ill, depending on how well the pedophile deals with his feelings. The reason why hebephilia and ephebophilia are not considered disorders, even when acted out, is because they are far too common to be considered such. Plus, the pathologization of hebephilia would have undesired effects in the forensic field (Frances & First, 2011).
While minor-attracted people differ in “ages of attraction”, they also differ according to political position. The age of consent is a law. Positioning yourself as favorable or against a law is a political position. There are pedophiles who are favorable to age of consent reform and there are those who are not. Minor-attracted people who are favorable to lowering or abolishing the age of consent are often called “pro-consent”. Those who are favorable to leaving the age of consent as it is or raising it are often called “anti-contact”. Those labels are not indicative of offender status: a person can be pro-consent and law-abiding. Being law-abiding is often called being “non-offending”. Neither label implies a position on child pornography: there are pro-consent minor-attracted people who would not want the legalization of child pornography, while some anti-contacts could want the legalization at least of cartoon child pornography, while being against the legalization of child pornography featuring real children.
One could ask why would you, for example, adopt either particular stance on the age of consent. While those who are pro-consent argue that some adult-child relationships, sexual or not, could be harmless or even beneficial, in a way that it would be more fair if those relationships were judged on a case-by-case basis (see quote by “Trevor” in Rivas, 2016, page 92), those who are anti-contact argue that harm still happens and that it could be devastating or that, even if those relationships could be harmless and positively recalled, they are still immoral, as the consent given by the child can always be called into question. The mere fact that such debate exists within minor-attracted communities should serve to dispel the prejudice that people who are sexually attracted to minors are always unethical. Because sexuality includes several interpersonal elements and a dynamic between the person who desires and the desired person, something that is observed even in adolescents (if there are minor-attracted adolescents, then what is said about adolescent desire in Drury & Bukowsky, 2013, page 128 and 129 applies here too), then it’s safe to say that sexual attraction is a feature of a wider erotic response that includes feelings of love (for a personal account by a pedophile, see O’Carroll, 1980, chapter 1). It is unlikely that you would defend either position disregarding children’s safety and feelings.
It’s also worth noting that minor-attracted people aren’t always adults: according to one of B4U-ACT’s surveys, most minor-attracted people feel their first attraction to an younger child at age 12 and notice that such attraction is preferential at age 14. That means that there are adolescents who are attracted to children, for example. How would a person who hates minor-attracted people as a consequence of their desire to protect children respond to this? Protecting children implies protecting minor-attracted children too. So, hating minor-attracted people in general is not something that can be conciliated with the desire to protect children in general.
The causes of attraction to minors are not clear. It seems to be first noticed in adolescence and is resistant to change. Considering that even people under the age of 12 are sexual beings and that they have sexual play among each other (for examples of childhood sexual activity, see Campbell et al, 2013, pages 154 to 157), one could think that the problem regarding attraction to minors resides in the fact that the person, when growing up, continues to be attracted to children, but it is not always like that: some people notice that they are preferably attracted to children late in life as well. The trait, however, seems to be inherent. There is no “becoming” when it comes to attraction to minors: you are or you are not. However, one can speak of “discovery”. You discover yourself as a minor-attracted person, but you can not say that a specific event “triggered” the attraction.
For a while, it was thought that having sexual contacts with an adult would cause the child to grow as a pedophile. That line of thought is called “abused-abuser cycle theory” and is currently being contested. There seems to be no necessary link between having sexual contacts in childhood and growing up attracted to children, specially if such contact is regarded as negative.
The only thing that can be said is that attraction to minors in general and pedophilia in particular are not choices, with a handful of researchers claiming that pedophilia could be a sexual orientation. If attraction to minors happens to be a sexual orientation, an analogy with homosexuality is possible: nothing can “turn you gay”, you either are gay or are not. But you can say that you “discover yourself gay”. While that does not warrant that adult-child sex should be legal, that does mean that, if pedophiles do not choose their condition and that changing such condition is not possible, hating them for that alone is unfair. You are not responsible for the feelings you have, but only for your actions.
Minor-attracted people notice their first attraction to children around age 12. Contrary to popular belief, it is not an exclusively male phenomenon: women and girls can be attracted to people much younger than themselves as well. The feelings they have come in three levels: caring, romantic and sexual. In the first level, you may have urges to care for the young, offer guidance (see article found in the New York Post, 2007, quoted in Rivas, 2016, pages 113 to 115), protect and be available for their needs. That would help to explain why so many sex scandals involve people in positions of guidance, such as priests or teachers. On the second level, the urge is to have emotional bounding (Rivas, 2016, page 264). On the third level, the desires are geared towards what we would call “molestation”, in legal terms: touching, caressing, fondling, acts that are more often centered on the child (see quote by D. J. West, in O’Carroll, 1980, chapter 3). It has been pointed in literature that, at least when it comes to pedophiles (not including hebephiles or ephebophiles), penetration is a rare feature of sexual contact with children. Considering that those sexual feelings may coexist with loving feelings, it seems natural that pedophiles, as people attracted to prepubescent children, would refrain from penetrative activity, as it would be both painful and probably degrading for the child (see O’Carroll, 1980, chapter 6, where he explains why there should be an age of consent for certain penetrative acts). An immature child experiencing penetration is unlikely to enjoy it: losing the virginity can be a painful experience for older girls and even women, let alone for a small child. A child should never be submitted to anything beyond their level of maturity.
However, as implied by the two first attraction tiers (care and romance), you probaby would not feel gratification if the child or adolescent is unwilling. The laymen could then ask “what about the cases of child rape that we see on television?” It is now known that most people arrested for sex with minors do not fulfill the diagnostic criteria for pedophilia. In laymen terms, that means that most people who are prosecuted for sex with kids are not pedophiles in the first place. There are several reasons for a person to have sex with minors and pedophilia is just one of them. The person could have sex with a minor for experimentation, revenge, desire to cause pain, intoxication, jailbaiting, mental disorder or, in extreme, rare cases, minor-on-adult rape. If only a minority of those people on television are real pedophiles, laymen are supposed to be more worried about “normal” people abusing their children. If an abuser really could be “anyone”, it’s now known that it seldom is a pedophile. In fact, there is a large figure that is very seldom discussed: some people who have illegal sexual contacts with children may very well also be children, who might have such contacts in a harmless and willing way.
Finally, considering the social impact of those relationships and the caring and romantic feelings that coexist with the sexual feelings, it is not a surprise that many minor-attracted people choose to remain celibate towards children and adolescents (the classical example is the relationship between Alice Liddell and Lewis Carroll, as seen in Rivas, 2016, pages 247 and 248). In fact, even among those who espouse a pro-consent view, having a sexual relationship with a minor is viewed as unethical, as it can expose both the adult and the minor to the tribulations of societal intervention. So, pedophiles who have sincere feelings of love for children should remain celibate, even if they mean no harm, at least until the climate becomes more accepting of those relationships (Rivas, 2016, page 271).
Is there a treatment or cure?
Wether attraction to minors is a sexual orientation or a disorder, it is resistant to change. We know that aversion therapy, once used as an attempt to change homosexual attraction into a heterosexual one, does not work. In fact, aversion therapy was equaled to punishment, of the cruel and unusual kind, by Leinwand. Such punishment is still applied on people with problematic sexual attractions. Aversion therapy techniques include electric shock, vomit induction, high-frequency buzzing noises and other unpleasant stimuli while, at same time, it is also given to that person something that sexually arouses them (see footnotes in O’Carroll, 1980, chapter 4).
If attraction to minors can not be changed, the best we can do in the current climate is to help minor-attracted people to stay law-abiding while improving the quality of their life. When you are isolated or has the feeling of “having nothing else to lose”, you are more prone to offend. That means that isolating minor-attracted people from society is not helpful to the goals of society, nor to your goals of staying non-offending. With that in mind, the therapeutic group B4U-ACT does not advocate treatment that aims to “cure” you, especially because B4U-ACT does not see attraction to minors as an illness. Therapists who work with B4U-ACT are supposed to stick to humane treatment, focused on your well-being, which does lessen the chances of offense.
Feelings and actions.
Feeling attraction to minors is different from acting on such attraction. To make an analogy, several people have urges to do illegal things: to murder or beat up a person they dislike, to experiment with illicit drugs or playing illicit games. However, having those feelings do not guarantee that a person would act on those urges. Nonetheless, people are entitled to their fantasies. Same goes for you.
In Japan, cartoon child pornography, in the form of lolicon/shotacon manga, is tolerated. But the availability of such pornography (as with any pornography) does not seem to increase Japan’s rates of illegal sexual contacts with children at all (Diamond & Uchiyama, 1999, page 10). According to the news outlet International Business Times, both United States and United Kingdom, two territories that are very invested in fighting pedophilia, appear in the list of the five countries with highest rates of child sexual abuse. It is important to remind you that the information comes from a news outlet and that the definition of “child” in the article is not given. But lets suppose that the list is accurate. If it is, how can we explain such fact?
In a study about the presence of pornography and it’s correlation with sex crime rates in Czech Republic, we read: “Of particular note is that this country, like Denmark and Japan, had a prolonged interval during which possession of child pornography was not illegal and, like those other countries, showed a significant decrease in the incidence of child sex abuse.” (Diamond et al, 2011, page 1039). While that does not warrant that child pornography should be legal, that could mean that the presence of child pornography makes pedophiles in particular less prone to seek encounters with real children. That could help to explain why the rates of child sexual abuse are low in Japan, but high in United States: Japan allows pedophiles to have an outlet for their feelings, giving them safe discharge, in the form of fantasy, such as games, manga and anime. Provided that such outlet is fantasy, real children do not have to participate in the production at all. Because of that, there is some research being done in the subject of virtual reality child pornography, which would serve the same purpose. While evidence showing that child pornography makes pedophiles less prone to offend is inconclusive, investigating the use of child pornography with no real children as a coping mechanism is still worth a try. So, if you are against any modification on the age of consent laws, this possibility is something you should consider.
Even if no outlet is given, no one can take away their right to fantasize. It’s not possible to make thoughts and feelings illegal. As long as you find a way to have legal sexual relief, the proneness to break the law would be lower. Also, there are other forms of expression that are not sexually explicit. For example, a “boy love” novel was published on in 2018. It was not the first book of it’s kind and probably will not be last. Another example would be the movie I Love You, Daddy, released in 2017. The existence of legal fiction works with such themes shows that sublimation of the desire through artistic work is also possible and it can also be done in an acceptable, legal and even profitable way. It is also worth noting that such works may very well be done by people who are not even themselves attracted to minors.
Age of consent and culture.
The volatility of laws makes them unsuitable to defining what is sick and what is not, even though they can dictate what is socially acceptable and what is not. This is an important issue to touch for the well-being of minor-attracted people, because part of the shame they feel over their feelings comes from the fact that many forms of attraction to minors are illegal in their territory.
Age of consent varies across cultures, that is, across time and place. The first ages of consent were very low. Such low ages of consent reflect the fact that, historically, sexual relationships between adults and people who would today classify as minors used to be common, even though it is understudied nowadays (Cleves, 2020, points that out and tries to contribute to such study). In United States, for example, the age of consent used to be 7 in Delaware. Societal movements, especially feminism (see, for example, Sandfort, 1987, chapter 1), played a role in changing that picture, even though some women’s rights circles are more sexually liberal nowadays. But even today, ages of consent can be very low in other places: the lowest age of consent in Japan is 13, the age of consent in Brazil is 14 nationwide and it is 12 in Philippines. The case of Brazil is specially interesting because the age of consent in Brazil was 16 in 1920, it is currently 14 and there was a proposal to lower it to 12, following, among other things, the discovery that it was interfering with teenage romances. So, from the countries I just mentioned, Brazil shows a tendency to lower it’s age of consent as time passes by. There are also countries with no age of consent, but have minimum age limits for marriage, which also can be pretty low. Those countries frequently impose constraints on sexual activity in order to keep it inside marriage. So, in some countries, if you are married, age disparity does not matter. Last, in indigenous isolated cultures, such law may also be absent (for several examples of such tribes, see O’Carroll, 1980, chapter 2). Finally, there are initiatives against the very concept of policing youths’ sexuality, such as the party programme of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB-PCC), which lists, as one of it’s immediate demands, the removal of parental, religious or police control over youths’ sexuality and the elaboration of alternative legislation against child sexual exploitation. On the other hand, a worldwide movement to raise the age of consent in the entire world could not be done without meeting a lot of cultural resistence, especially in the East. Such movement would take decades to succeed.
That means that having romantic or sexual affairs with minors is not always illegal, depending on your context. If you were born in the right place, at the right time, your attraction would be tolerated, accepted or even cherished. It is not like you are sick; you were just born in the wrong culture. While that is a fact and while the age of consent is indeed volatile, pointing that out alone should not be seen as an encouragement to break the law, nor as an encouragement to have sex with children. After all, such volatility has been exhaustively pointed out in other works (see the references for a few).
After this, one could wonder why the age of consent in United Kingdom and United States, for example, is so high. One of the arguments for keeping a high age of consent is that children mature at different paces: a 15-year-old could behave as if they were 12, despite another 15-year-old being capable of behaving as if they were 18. So, setting the bar high could ensure that no underdeveloped child or adolescent would consent to something they don’t actually understand.
Statistics and anecdotes.
But lower ages of consent imply that relationships at a certain age may not be violent. That prompts the question about whether sexual contact before the age of consent is always harmful or not. Can relationships between adults and children ever work? Statistical and anecdotal evidence shows that intergenerational relationships are not consistently harmful. If precocious sexual contact was always harmful, the age of consent would variate less. Plus, if that was the case, age of consent would be a much older law, like the laws against murder, violence, rape and robbery.
The consideration of positively recalled precocious sexual contact would not be included in this document if it was not recorded in literature that knowing of such information could improve your self-esteem. But a discussion about positively experienced adult-child sexual intimacy can not be done without considering the reasons for the prohibition.
Evidence fails to demonstrate the belief that adult-child sexual intimacy is always harmful. Some of those contacts are recalled as positive. One of the books used as reference for this text is Rivas’ Positive Memories, which compiles anecdotes of positively recalled, voluntary sexual contacts between minors no older than 15 with adults no younger than 18 (Rivas, 2016, page 9). Those anecdotes were extracted from other works, such as biographies, news articles, scientific papers and others. The sources can be found in the book’s bibliography. Other compilations are available elsewhere.
Some studies that could be used to prove the existence of non-violent intergenerational relationships are out there. A few of them that I can mention are Tindall, 1978; Sandfort, 1984; Sandfort, 1987; Condy et al, 1987; Kilpatrick, 1987; Leahy, 1996; Nicholas & Tredoux, 1996; Bauserman & Rind, 1997; Rind & Tromovitch, 1997; Rind et al, 1998; Madu & Peltzer, 2001; Rind, 2001; Ulrich et al, 2005-2006; Arreola et al, 2008; Arreola et al, 2009; Carballo-Diéguez et al, 2011; Rind & Welter, 2013; Dolezal et al, 2014; Rind, 2016; Rind & Welter, 2016; Lahtinen et al, 2018; Mulya, 2018; Wet et al, 2018; Rind, 2020; Vasilenko et al, 2020; Daly, 2021; Rind, 2022. These studies offer both statistical and anecdotal evidence that sexual contact between adult and child may be both harmless and voluntary (that is, non-violent). You may notice that some of those studies are fairly recent, while others are ancient. It would be interesting to check them if you would like to read more on the subject. But it is not my goal to expose the data that was gathered by those researchers.
It is also worth mentioning that none of those studies take a definite pro-legalization position. For example, Mulya, 2018, says that anecdotes of positively-recalled adult/child sexual intimacy should not be seen as a personal attempt at making those relationships legally acceptable. On the same way, Lahtinen et al, 2018, only tries to explain why some children do not report sexual contact with adults to the authorities when such contact happens and one of the study’s findings is that some children do not report because they do not see the contact as something worth mentioning while a handful do not report because they enjoyed the experience. But the study does not conclude that such experiences should be made legal, but, rather, than children should be encouraged to report, no matter how they evaluate the experience. Plus, the fact that there are studies that show that precocious relationships are more positive and other studies show the opposite shows that age is not determinant in the way a minor evaluates his or her sexual experiences (Boydell et al., 2021). That means that the existence of such studies should not be interpreted that such relationships are always positive, as much as relationships with adults are not. But maybe the existence of conflicting studies in this matter suggests that age is not what we should be looking at, but individual readiness (this gives traction to the pro-consent argument that such relationships should be evaluated in a case-by-case basis). That being said, the mere exposure of this data should not be seen as encouragement to break the law. Plus, scientific data alone can not operate changes in the law either and, if science wants to be impartial, it must not be concerned with politics or the law, but with the facts.
If intergenerational relationships can have genuine affection between the parties, why is adult/child sexual contact still illegal? The answer relies on informed consent. The belief that children can not consent seems to be the only reason why those contacts are still considered always abuse (see citation by Archard, in Jahnke et al, 2017, page 3). But what does it mean “to consent” in this context, as many of those contacts are regarded as “voluntary” by the supposed victim?
Informed consent is needed when risk is present: whenever you are about to do something dangerous, you need to be aware of the consequences of an act and must be able to take a free decision on wether to take the risk or not (see Lavin, 2013, page 5). Sex is regarded as risky, in the sense of potentially harmful. If sex is potentially harmful, everyone who engages in sexual practices must give informed consent, that is, must be aware of the consequences and be able to take a free stance on taking the risk or not. The problem with adult/child sexual contact is that, while some adults are not fully aware of the consequences of their acts and while power imbalance is inherent to human relationships, children are both ignorant of the consequences and in a position of social disadvantage towards the entire society. Informed consent is based either on information or favorable power dynamics and neither thing is present for the child in such a relationship. And that also explains why the age of consent varies across cultures: different countries have different attitudes towards sex, more or less informed youth, wider or narrower extent of children’s rights, at different given historical contexts. So, when someone says “children can not consent”, what they are saying, in functionalistic terms is:
this issue is important because sex is risky, that is, potentially harmful.
Because giving consent to an act without information on the consequences is a null choice and because giving consent in a situation where you can not really say “no” (as a dangerous adult could attempt to force the child if consent is denied) is also null, the child’s consent is null or, at least, not informed, thus legally invalid (in which case, the child could have consented, it’s just that the law will disregard such consent). It doesn’t matter if the child said yes: if their consent is null, the act is equivalent to rape, even if just in purely legal terms (hence the term “statutory rape”). That is the rationale behind informed consent and the reason why adult/child sexual contact remains illegal. Even the act was genuinely freely engaged in and even if no harm, but only benefit, resulted from the act, it was still immoral.
For many things, parents and guardians consent for their children (Lavin, 2013). So, when it comes to sexual matters, even if the age of consent were to be abolished, that does not equal full child liberation. The child would still be cared for and nurtured by their parents, who would be responsible for them and held accountable for the harm that the child could suffer from anything, sexual or not. Because of that, many parents would not accept their children getting into such adventures, even if the child comes to voice their desire to participate.
In any case, children have their own maturing pace and each individual child develops differently. They are supposed to learn about their sexuality in their own way. This is a very tricky situation, because the introduction of adult elements in a sexuality that is still fourishing could harm the development of said sexuality, which could result in frustration for the child after they grow up or even immediately. We still would have to consider the possibility of selfish adults tricking or manipulating the child or otherwise trying to make their interest prevail over the child’s interest. If that’s a possibility, legalization remains risky. I am sure that you can be a loving person, but others may not be as much. And finally, a child and an adult in a sexual relationship could be looking for different things: the adult could be looking for physical intimacy and emotional bounding, while the child would be motivated by curiosity and pleasure. If the motivations are different, the relationship might not be fulfilling for either.
Plus, even if there is positively recalled adult/child sexual contact and even if anecdotal evidence shows that there are minors craving such encounters, the act, when discovered, will cause damage to both parties of the relationship, due to the judicial proceeding and probably therapy afterwards. I reiterate that acting on those desires in a cultural context that is disapproving of such conduct is a display of irresponsibility. Pro-consent minor-attracted people are interested in changing the laws (see Sandfort, 1987, chapter 3 for an example of attempted age of consent reform in the Netherlands), but should not be interested in breaking the laws, not only because of their own safety, but also because of how the child might respond to the intervention (for an anecdote on how societal intervention alone can harm both adult and child, see Rivas, 2016, pages 27 to 32)
If you will not necessarily commit any crime, if most people who perpetrate sexual offenses against children are not pedophiles in the first place and if such attractions have been, are and could be acceptable depending on cultural context, then you have no reason to feel ill. If that is all that you needed to hear or read, you could drop the issue altogether and stop caring about it, as it is the charge that is attributed to the feelings, rather than the feelings themselves, that cause the shame and the guilt. That implies that society makes you feel ill, not the feelings that are present in you.
If that is the case, you could use some company to at least cope with the feeling of isolation. There are legal communities online and offline that minor-attracted people can rely on, to exchange experiences and have guidance from people who share the attraction. Of course, you are also encouraged to avoid illegal communities. B4U-ACT has a peer support group, for example. Other communities such as Boychat/Girlchat, Virtuous Pedophiles and the JORis groups of NVSH (this last one in the Netherlands) are also options. Out of those, only Virtuous Pedophiles has strict requirements for membership, as the person who joins their group needs to also be anti-contact. I should remind the reader that anti-contact and pro-consent are not indicative of offender status. B4U-ACT, Boychat/Girlchat and the JORis groups of NVSH do not have such requirement. As B4U-ACT wants to reach as many minor-attracted people as possible, it does make sense that it would not push any particular view on the contact issue: when the Paedophile Information Exchange operated in the United Kingdom, it’s pro-consent activism pushed some members away (O’Carroll, 1980, chapter 11). When it comes to age of consent reform, support groups and political activism are tough to conciliate, if not impossible. That being said, if a support group for minor-attracted people wants to reach as many people possible, it must avoid any definitive position on the age of consent, which would encourage participation by both pro-consent and anti-contact minor-attracted people. Such attitude would also keep the organization itself safe. The JORis groups and B4U-ACT also hold real life meetings on occasion, but, while the JORis groups tries to be a support group where people can introduce themselves and talk about their struggles to receive peer support, the real life meetings held by B4U-ACT are academic in nature and researchers also participate. While people attend to B4U-ACT’s meetings on their own, some people are referred to the JORis groups by the justice system.
Not viewing attraction to minors as something negative and having others who understand and listen is crucial for the well being of minor-attracted people, avoiding a dreaded mindset of “having nothing to lose”, which would make the minor-attracted people prone to desperate actions, such as suicide. If people hate minor-attracted people because it is believed that they always offend the law and all of those who offend the law are attracted to minors, then there is no reason to hate them, as that belief is demonstrably wrong. They are not worth hating. In fact, if you are non-offending, you pass as perfectly “normal”. A lot of people are probably friends with at least one person like you.
To dispel the prejudices that exist regarding minor-attracted people, the best solution would be the coming out of them. It is much safer to “come out” online, in dedicated accounts, and many have done so on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, WordPress, Tumblr, Medium and so on. Freedom of speech is a human right and freedom of thought is something that can not be taken from you. No petition can change that. If you can come out online, especially if you know how to separate your public, real life identity from a dedicated online account identity, it is already helpful. The prejudice against minor-attracted people only exists because people can say whatever they wish about a silent minority. How many minor-attracted people are out there? The lowest guess, according to B4U-ACT’s facts page, is 600.000 adults, only counting United States. How many exist in other countries? Are all those people bad?
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